DSS denies .edu users access to clearance info

The Defense Security Service is cutting off without exception all .edu domain users’ access to applications on the Defense Information System for Security Web site, effectively barring entry to DISS data about personnel, companies and other defense-related issues. The ban is set to go into effect June 30.

According to an announcement on the DSS Web site, all .mil, .gov and .com users will continue to have access to the applications, but there will be new, tighter restrictions on .net and .org users seeking online information from the Joint Personnel Adjudication System (JPAS), the Industrial Security Facilities Database (ISFD) and the Defense Central Index of Investigations (DCII), accessed through the DISS site.

All .net, .org and other domain users will be required to complete a DISS IP restriction form for access.

DSS spokesperson Cindy McGovern said the restrictions are because of security concerns that she declined to specify. She said, however, that she did not know of any attempts to hack into the DISS site by .edu users.

“This is part of the layered security strategy,” she said. “Basically, we’re making it harder for people to get to the data that is in these data bases.”

JPAS is a database of cleared employees, and ISFD contains a list of cleared companies. McGovern said DISS will be the gateway into those databases and the starting point of the security measures.

“If it is a cleared facility under our program that has an .edu address, we’ll work with them on a case-by-case basis to resolve it," she added.

Officials at Educause, a nonprofit association promoting information technology in higher education, said they were unaware of the new security directive and would need time to assess its impact within the university community before commenting.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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